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It's New York Time

Or it was New York Time. I went to NYC week before last to visit my oldest brother, see Hamilton and meet DOMA-defeating lawyer Robbie Kaplan, which made for a pretty kickass five days.

First we had the mismatched socks debacle at the airport, which consisted entirely of me realizing with increasing horror that I had put on different socks (BUT OF COMPARABLE THICKNESS) that morning, somehow believing no one would see them in the course of the day.

Foolish, foolish girl

I arrived in NYC around 11 PM Tuesday night, where I immediately made my way to my brother/brother-in-law's in Astoria. They got a cat! Her name is Numi! She loves one particular crinkle ball very much.

WEDNESDAY was the Big Important Day, so I put on my favorite blouse and hit the town.

see the hope in those eyes?

I was having lunch with Robbie Kaplan (whose book was my favorite of 2015) at 12:30. It was a disgusting day out, so when I arrived downtown much too early on 5th Avenue, I proceeded to walk around inside the Ritz while thinking how little the interior now looks like the one in the perennially great Bette Midler movie Big Business, and then hit Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, which is gorgeous and has a tremendous organ (hold your jokes for the more plebeian among us).

But! There was even more time to kill! So off I went to The Knave:

The Knave is Fancy and inside the Parker Meridien (omg I'm so sorry — Le Parker Meridien). I basically acted the gauchest possible, primarily by attempting to do things for myself when no no, the server will do those things for you, how embarrassing for you that you didn't assume that would happen. I then tried to find the damn hotel's bathroom, which I succeeded in doing.

Then off! to lunch with Robbie Kaplan at Momofuku Má Pêche, which is essentially Japanese tapas (no it's not, Alice). I can't imagine how busy her schedule was, and it was fairly awe-inducing to be able to spend an entire lunchtime with someone whose work I admire so highly. If you haven't read her book yet, you really should. 

After Robbie Kaplan lunch, I was killing time before seeing Hamilton, so I stopped at St Patrick's Cathedral, where I saw what I assume is Elizabeth Seton?

Then Brother and Brother-in-Law and I went to a Peruvian restaurant called Pio Pio that I was very excited about, as we were led back from the front, which looked rather like a travel agent's, and went back and back and down and down and then we were in a large room with branches all over the walls and what, the front looked so regular and small.

branch walls! knew it was coming...

Yeah, so. I like musical theatre. A lot. From back when I was like five and my mom would play tapes of Oliver! and The King and I  in the car, leading my brothers to learn all the lyrics against their very will. I was seriously dubious of a hip hop musical about Alexander Hamilton when my friend first told me about it around January 2015. I finally told her I would essentially deign to check it out and she was like "Oh...the preview run is...sold out forever." 

Then the cast recording was released on NPR in...September? But I didn't want to listen to it because it wasn't sectioned into tracks. They just presented it in a big glob. I did some cursory listening and only sat up and paid attention when I heard My Shot. It came out on Spotify and so it began. My other musical-loving friend Emily and I started listening all the time and by early October, we decided we had to buy tickets. But tickets were selling out fast. We said ok, it's fine, we just have to see before the Tonys because most of the original cast will probably still be there.

AND SO IT CAME TO PASS that we paid appx $180/ticket, sat near the front of the mezzanine, and saw Hamilton seven months after we bought the tickets.

The lobby at intermission was madness. MADNESS. There's one ladies bathroom at that theatre, and it's in the basement. I was, again, near the front of the mezzanine, i.e. almost the furthest I could possibly be from that bathroom. BUT. My brother-in-law (Mike) had told me before the show that the hotel next door had bathrooms. So WHAT DID I DO I'll tell you what I did, I zipped through this:

went next door to the hotel, used their empty bathroom, and was done in 45 seconds. BAM. #Hamilhack

Hamilton has been chronicled in so many corners of the internet, I can add nothing but my opinions. And they are:

1. Daveed Diggs as Jefferson is vastly superior to Daveed Diggs as Lafayette
2. Renee Elise Goldsberry as Angelica cannot really act but we love her anyway
3. Leslie Odom, Jr in everything. Leslie Odom, Jr doing 'The Room Where It Happened' over and over for the whole show. 
4. Best chemistry in the show was Hamilton + Maria Reynolds, and y'all have to fix that because it's not right.
5. Wait, I still don't get it -- in Take a Break, are Angelica and Eliza offering to have a three way with Hamilton by a lake? My mind doesn't usually jump to these things, so thinking it makes me think everyone else has been positive about it for months.
This seething mass of humanity was the stage door after:

I opted to buy an ice cream bar and go home.


Thursday was Hang Out With Book People That I Love Very Much day. First I went to Lillie's with my lovely lovely friend Meghan from Little, Brown so we could talk about upcoming Book Expo America and 90% probably how great musicals are.

This is the door handle to that restaurant
I was all over this place
Meghan gave me books, including one on Civil War nurses that I will be reviewing in two seconds because I love it so very very much. CIVIL WAR NURSES FOR ALWAYS. Meghan and I have been friends for...two? Three? Some number of years now. We met through my blog and thank GOD, because she is the most fun to hang out with and I bugged her daily at the Hachette booth at Book Expo.

Then I met my friend Lauren at Balthazar. Lauren is a literary publicist and probably one of the most fascinating people I know. She gave me S.J. Watson's new book (REMEMBER S.J. WATSON?) and we talked astrology, people in our lives, and probably books? Yes. Books definitely entered the conversation at some point. 

From there I walked through Union Square because #EmmaGoldman, then met up with Mike to see The Woodsman, an excellent off-Broadway origin story about the Tin Man that has almost NO DIALOGUE but is great nonetheless. I got into a brief tiff with the man sitting next to me, as our elbows were bumping, and what happens when that occurs? Someone shifts their arm to another part of the armrest, or removes it. But oh no, not this guy. He was gonna be in that spot, resting his arm in a way that made it impossible for me to re-situate mine. The situation got to a point where I finally asked him "Look, can one of us move our arm to the back of the armrest?" Where he looked at me fairly blankly, I tried, he still wouldn't accommodate, and I finally gave up the battle and ceded the whole thing to him. 

But oh look, the show was pretty

Later that evening with books

At The Woodsman, I felt an odd tickle in the back of my throat. 'Oh no,' thought I with mounting terror, 'do not get sick.' But it was TOO LATE. A lack of bringing my regular probiotic + running around + a terrible sleep schedule meant Friday my plans for going to Philadelphia were crushed like so many almonds and I stayed in the apartment with Numi the Cat all day watching episode after episode of Veep.

wasn't too bad
Saturday I felt slightly better, which was good because ALLEY from What Red Read and I were meeting up at Trinity Church to look at #Hamilgraves. If you do not know Alley, you should. We have now met enough times we don't even have to say we're internet friends WE ARE RL FRIENDS. She is 100% always fun to hang out with, and I was super-glad she was there at Trinity with me instead of me skulking about on my own, staring at Angelica's grave that DOESN'T EVEN HAVE HER NAME ON IT and is on the opposite side of the church from Hamilton + Eliza's.

View from Angelica's grave
Who lives, who dies, who tells your story (a girl with a blog, apparently)
We wandered over to the other side to see Hamilton and Eliza, where she is buried AT HIS FEET looking like one of those benches at the end of a bed like the one Michael sleeps on in The Office when he lives with Jan.

Alley and I wandered around the old part of Manhattan, walked through Bowling Green, went through the old Custom House which is now the National Museum of the American Indian, and ended up at Fraunces Tavern, YES THAT FRAUNCES TAVERN where we had brunch and I got day-tipsy and Alley dealt with it because she is a lady.

Mmm Fraunces Tavern

I had to leave at 7 AM for my flight on Sunday, so Sunday night was mainly packing and watching Barbarella, which is a bananas movie. I was then sick for the next two days to the point of almost not being able to walk, so I basically slept for two days, but WORTH IT. IT WAS ALL WORTH IT.


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